Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente on Wednesday warned potential overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) of an ongoing modus of an extortionist pretending to be an immigration officer.
“We have received a complaint sometime in December regarding a Filipino worker who wanted to depart to Dubai under a tourist visa, but was intercepted at the airport,” said Morente. “An immigration officer who introduced himself as James approached her and offered to escort her for a fee,” he added.
According to the complainant, James claimed that he was assigned as an immigration officer at the Ninoy Aquino International, and had the capacity to allow the victim’s departure. She initially transferred P7,000 through GCash, and P28,500 through bank transfer to the suspect. She again later transferred P39,500 upping her total transfer to P75,000 and attempted to depart but was intercepted again.
“The victim tried to ask for her money back from the suspect but he made excuses about it,” Morente said. “Upon verification with our records, we had no such employee,” he added.
BI uncovers modus of fake immigration officer in ‘fixing’ and extortion
Morente shared that they sought the help of government intelligence agencies, as well as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in pursuing the case against the fixer. “I am unable to disclose the details of the said fixer, but we received intelligence information yesterday about him. We already have his identity,” said Morente. “I have instructed our Travel Control and Enforcement Unit and Intelligence Division to coordinate with the NBI and ensure that this person faces the harshest penalties of the law,” he stated.
Morente again warned aspiring OFWs from entertaining offers of fixers and extortionists. “Do not fall prey to these predators,” said Morente. “They are sweet-talkers that will entice you to attempt to work illegally, but we have already measures in place to prevent that from happening. Report any fixing and extortion attempts to the police to make sure that they are arrested and they are prevented from victimizing other people again,” he added.